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I have been an avid reader from as early as I can remember. Since becoming a Christian in my early 20s, my passion for reading led to specifically Christian fiction and this has developed into reviewing them on this blog. I love reading new author's novels or author's who have not had many reviews or exposure and giving them much needed encouragement where appropriate.   
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Saturday, 15 February 2014

Burning At The Boss, (A Johnny Ravine Mystery, Book 3) by Martin Roth


Pastor Jim Reezall is renowned as the hellfire preacher always calling down fire and brimstone on the sinners of the world. So when he dies in a wild bushfire there are some who believe he got what he deserved. Enter private detective Johnny Ravine, asked by the pastor's daughter - with whom he is trying to develop a relationship - to solve the mystery of the death.


It quickly becomes apparent that it was murder. And very soon Johnny learns that huge sums of money are missing from charities administered by the pastor. Was the pastor really using the funds to pay off gunrunners? And, if so, why? The answers - along with the truth about Johnny's long-lost father - come in a thrilling climax amidst a raging conflagration in the most bushfire-prone region on earth.




Review: 

The third book in the Johnny Ravine mystery trilogy. I am sad to see it finish but glad that he has a good outcome to his quest that runs throughout this trilogy. I must confess that I did not see this coming, and it was a nice twist.  


As stated in my review of the previous novel, this has all the hallmarks of a Roth novel, and I am glad to see Roth's consistency here. In this novel, Roth introduces one very zany character in the radio disc jockey, Rad Blacken. He comes across as the comedy relief but still show a serious side when dealing with his mother. And she comes across as the typical mother who cannot see an end to his son living at home; she wants him out and married off, but he does not see it that way. You cannot do anything but love these two characters. 

I was pleased to see a love interest for Johnny as I had wondered about his singleness in the previous two novels. I wonder if Roth had subtly implied in his writing for Johnny wanting to settle down? It was a good plot development to have Johnny's love interest the reason he gets involved in this murder mystery. Good to see that after all he had been through as a rebel leader in East Timor, his epiphany to leave that life style, search for his father and sort out his life, he was willing to allow himself to experience love and learn to love in return. However, due to the twist in this plot that I mentioned above, this turns out not to eventuate but Johnny does gain from this twist and for him this was totally unexpected. I liked this to end the novel, but it seemed at a sacrifice for the ending to be not with Miriam the way I was expecting.

Roth introduces suspense really well here when Grapper and his cohort start to threaten Miriam and her sister, Sarah in demanding the money that their father is accused of embezzling. I must confess I have had more intense suspense from similar situations in other novels, but I feel Roth had the correct intensity here for the pace and style of this trilogy.This added some balance to the plot. Another layer of suspense was when Grapper was threatening Johnny and Johnny tries to counteract this with reason and negotiation. It was a nice ploy as it is here that Roth sets the stage for this twist mentioned before!! 

I must confess that one of my weaknesses in understanding a plot line is when an author introduces financial embezzlement and how this is played out in deception and fraud. I found this hard to understand but this is due to my wiring and not Roth's writing.  I don't believe that Roth has written this with poor or irresponsible writing or plot construction, on the contrary, I feel he has explained this very succinctly. It is balanced with just enough detail so as to not lose the reader in this part of the plot. 

Through the character of Jim, I can see that maybe Roth has a soft spot for the orphaned and neglected children of those countries with either a poor economy or those of corrupt ones. This provided a balance to Ron's character and commitment to Christ in standing up for what he believed in ranting and raving about the things of God, albeit in an over zealous way sometimes on his radio show. Setting up these orphanages showed the caring side of his nature and that of the transformation that only Christ can do through a relationship with Him. 

I live in Victoria where this novel is set, but I have never been to the Yarra Valley. I have heard alot about it from media, friends and the occasional person who lives there. Roth describes this are well and gives descriptive account to this location. It definitely sounds like a beautiful place to live. 

If there is one thing that I have enjoyed about this trilogy is having Pastor Ron and Rohan in all of the books. Together with Johnny, they make quite a team. By this third book, the reader has become quite fond of them. 

All in all a very enjoyable novel and a fine ending to the Johnny Ravine mystery trilogy. 

Strongly Recommended. 


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